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Chapters are useful because they allow you to move on from discussing certain life periods or events. There's a reason we have the expression that we've "closed a chapter" or "opened a new chapter" in life, and it's even more applicable when discussing an autobiography. Chapter breaks allow you to skip forward 10 years, go back in time, or start describing a new theme without jarring the reader too much.

What Is an Autobiography? (And How to Write Yours)

Consider ending chapters on a poignant or suspenseful note, so people can't wait to start the next one. The beginnings of chapters are a good place to take a bird's eye view of your past, describe the setting of a place, and set the tone for what's to come. Method 3. Make sure you get the facts right. Double check dates, names, descriptions of events, and other items you're including in your book to make sure you've gotten all the facts down correctly. Even though you're writing the story of your own life, you shouldn't publish incorrect information about what occurred.

You can stretch the truth about your own goals and intentions, but don't include fabricated conversations with real people, or altered versions of events that really happened. Of course, you won't remember everything perfectly, but you should reflect reality as best you can. Get permission to use people's names or quote them if you're including content on what other people said or did.

Some people don't appreciate appearing as a character in someone else's autobiography, and you should respect that by altering the way you describe them or changing their names if necessary.

Edit your draft. Once you've finished your first draft, go back through it with a fine-toothed comb. Reorganize passages, paragraphs and even chapters where necessary. Replace mundane words and make your phrasing more interesting and clear. Correct your spelling and grammar. Share it with other people. Present your autobiography to your reading club or a friend so you can get an outside opinion.

Stories you find impossibly funny might seem dull to someone else. Get feedback from several people if you can, so you'll have a better idea of how your book comes across to other people. If several people recommend cutting a certain section, strongly consider making the cut. Try to get opinions from people outside your circle of family and friends. People who know you might try to spare your feelings, or they might be biased - especially if they appear in the story. Hire a copyeditor.

A good copyeditor will clean up your writing and make the dull parts shine. Whether you're planning on getting your book published at a publishing house or going the self-publishing route, it's never a bad idea to have a professional polish your book at the end of the writing process. Come up with a title. It should match the tone and style of your book, in addition to being attention-grabbing and intriguing. Keep the title short and memorable, rather than wordy and difficult to grasp. You could title it with your name and the words "My Autobiography" or choose something less direct.

Here are some famous autobiography titles that perfectly capture the stories inside: Bossy Pants , by Tina Fey. My Confession , by Leo Tolstoy. The Sound of Laughter , by Peter Kay. Method 4. Take steps to self-publish your book. Even if you don't want to worry about trying to sell your book to the public, you might want to have it designed and printed to keep for yourself and give to your family members and other people featured in the book.

Research companies that offer book designing, printing, and shipping services, and decide how many copies you'd like to order. Many companies offering these services produce books that look just as professional as those printed by traditional publishing houses.


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If you don't want to pay for a publishing service, you can still create a nice copy of your book by taking it to a copy store and having it printed and bound. Consider finding a literary agent. Research agents that work with autobiographies and send them a query letter with information about your book, yourself, and how you think the book should be marketed.

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Start the query letter with an airtight blurb succinctly describing the highlights of the book. Situate your book in the correct genre, and describe what will make it stand out from the rest. Tell the agent why you think he or she is the right person to shop your book around to publishers. Send sample chapters to agents who show interest. Sign a contract with an agent you trust. Make sure to read the contract carefully and check into the agent's history before signing anything. Submit a query letter directly to publishers.

If you don't want to take the time to find an agent, you can submit a letter directly to publishers and see if anyone bites. Research publishers that publish books in the same genre. Don't send the entire manuscript right away; wait until you get a manuscript request from the publisher. Many publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts or queries. Make sure you only send letters to publishers that accept them. If a publisher decides to move forward with a book deal with you, you'll need to sign a contract and set up a schedule for editing, designing, proofreading, and finally publishing the book.


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Look into publishing your book online. This is an increasingly popular method for publishing books, and a great way to save on printing and shipping expenses for all involved. Research online publishers that publish the books in the same genre, submit your query letter, and move forward with editing and publishing the text. Writing Help Annotated Autobiography Outline. Annotated Autobiography Page. Things to Do and Avoid in an Autobiography. Of course!

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Friends are a very important part of your life. Include all the ups and downs you have had with your friends: fun times, sad times, and everything in between! Yes No. Not Helpful 3 Helpful Not at all. It's better if you include some flaws, they make your autobiography a little more adventurous and interesting. As long as you have permission from those people you'll be writing about, it should be just fine.

An Autobiography

Not Helpful 6 Helpful If you choose not to use your real name, you have that right. You are there to determine what the fact or fiction of you is. Nobody needs to know exactly who you are, they just want to read the story and take it from there. You are your story, no matter if you use your real name or not. Not Helpful 19 Helpful Only you can answer that! You could use "My Autobiography," but that's boring. Be creative -- using alliteration is a great idea. Trust me, a little creativity is all it takes to wow a teacher. Generally yes, because it is an autobiography. Tell us what you think.

Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. Alfred A. Correction: December 13, A picture caption on Nov. News World U. He is one of the best examples living the American dream — sharing the idea that one can gain financial independence, and reach a prosperous life through hard work.

Through autobiography, authors can speak directly to their readers, and to their descendants. The function of the autobiography is to leave a legacy for its readers. By writing an autobiography, the individual shares his triumphs and defeats, and lessons learned, allowing readers to relate and feel motivated by inspirational stories. Life stories bridge the gap between peoples of differing ages and backgrounds, forging connections between old and new generations.